The LX100’s lens features an optical image stabilizer in addition to its fast speed. I found the OIS in the LX100 to be rather effective, enabling sharp images down to around 1/8 second at the long end of the range, and about 1/4 second at the wide end. This results in an effectiveness of a little better than 3 stops, which is pretty darn good for a compact. Combined with the fast aperture, the LX100 can do a pretty nice job shooting in low light with a stationary subject. The shot below was taken at 13mm at 1/6 second, which is about 2.5 stops slower than what would be required without stabilization at this focal length.
Like most recent digital cameras, the LX100 features built-in Wi-Fi, and the implementation here is quite good. The camera can transfer images to your phone or tablet, and allows for remote shooting with those devices as well.
Initial setup can be a bit finicky, but is soon sorted out. You can do direct manual connection or connection via a shared network. Once a direct connection is established, the camera will remember the device, and your mobile device should also maintain those network settings. After this, reconnection is as simple as starting WiFi on the camera and selecting the network on your device.
The Panasonic Image App starts with full control of the camera, and you can continue in this mode or switch to playback, which will then allow you to select images to transfer to the camera. Unfortunately, there is no control over the RAW conversion when transferring images.
When utilizing the remote control of the camera, most of the camera controls can be accessed and changed, from image quality to white balance to ISO and focus point. Unfortunately, the parameters I’m most likely to change can’t be changed: Shutter speed, aperture and exposure compensation. These are grayed out in the app and must be changed by hand on the camera if adjustment is desired. I’m not sure why this is the case. While I understand that Panasonic may not want the dials to show different settings than what the camera will be taking a picture of, it doesn’t make much sense when you consider how remote shooting is done. Hopefully Panasonic will change this behavior in the future and allow for these adjustments. Overall, though, the live feed is relatively low lag and the camera operates quite well under remote control.
The LX100 features a built-in intervalometer for time-lapse shooting, and it works like most intervalometers on the market do: you can set the time between exposures and the number of frames to record, up to one shy of 10,000 exposures. Of course, with any long time-lapse, you’ll want to watch battery power.
What is rapidly becoming standard on most cameras is some sort of panorama stitching mode, and the LX100’s works fairly well. You can select which direction you want to travel, lock exposure and begin sweeping. The camera stitches images quite cleanly. While still not as good as a dedicated panorama stitching program, the results were good, and stitching errors were rare and generally minor. One characteristic of the LX100 that aids in using the panorama mode in a quiet location is that the leaf shutter in the LX100is very quiet and not distracting like it is on some other cameras.
Electronic and Leaf Shutter
The LX100 utilizes a leaf shutter in the lens rather than a focal plane shutter. This has a few benefits. First, as mentioned on the previous page, flash sync is incredibly high with a leaf shutter. Second, it’s also incredibly quiet. The mechanical shutter on the LX100 is nearly inaudible, and I had to check that it wasn’t using electronic shutter once I turned off the rather unnecessary ‘shutter sounds.’
The extremely quiet leaf shutter transitions automatically to the included electronic shutter capability at shutter speeds faster than 1/4000s. The electronic shutter is capable of speeds of 1/16,000 second, allowing for shooting in broad daylight wide open without the need of an ND filter. The shot to the left utilized the electronic shutter at 1/13,000 second to catch detail in the blowing grass and achieve the desired exposure for the image despite shooting directly into the sun. This transition is seamless, though you can choose to enable only mechanical shutter and only electronic shutter if you wish.
It’s worth noting that either is quiet enough that subjects won’t hear you click, making the LX100 an excellent option for street photography with its small size, silent shutter and fast autofocus. In conjunction with the Wi-Fi control, one can also perform the stealthy ‘pretend you’re on your phone while shooting subjects’ to minimize distraction, while also accurately composing the frame and shooting. Not being a street photographer, I didn’t do that with this camera, but that option is there if that fits your style.
18 thoughts on “Review: Panasonic Lumix LX100”
Great review. I’ve been wanting this camera ever since its announcement and your review continues to feed my lust. Can you compare the AF speed, AF tracking, and image quality to the Sony a6000? That is what I have right now and have been considering selling it for the LX100…
Is it a production unit or pre-prod Jordan? On mine (production unit), when I’m reviewing the photos and the lens is retracted, if I turn the camera off, it just shut up. the lens don’t go out and back in.
It’s a production camera. Odd. Wonder if it’s a setting to change.
I thought it could be the Zoom Resume setting but it does not make a difference. On a side note, by pure luck, I found out that when you are in the menus, if you use the zoom lever, it jumps one page ahead 🙂
My LX100 operates like this as well. The camera just shuts down with no lens movement.
Overall, good review. I am in the market for one of these to replace an OMD EM5.
But I do wish people would give credit where it is due. 1) Panasonic came out with retro designs long before the X series was a glint in Fuji’s eyes. In fact, this LX100 is not a copy of Fuji, it’s a copy of the Panasonic LX5/Leica Digilux 2, an excellent fixed-lens camera which I still own. 2) The Fuji “playbook” was actually a copy of other manual rangefinder cameras that had come before it, so it’s hardly “Fuji’s playbook”.
I get the feeling that now that the Sony A7-II sports 5-axis stabilisation, in 5 years’ time everyone will say the new X and Y is copying from “Sony’s playbook”. But it’s not the first time Olympus innovations have been stolen and then ret-conned as the other manufacturer’s “innovation”.
The LX5 doesn’t have controls anything like this camera. And if course Fuji borrowed from old cameras. It’s great that they did, but aside from Leica, who has been doing it non stop, no one else really used this control scheme in the past 15 years. Now it’s becoming more common, and that’s a good thing. I love that Panasonic went this route for the LX100.
Nice review Jordan! I am currently trying out this camera for the week, and I’ve had an awful time with auto white balance in the JPEG images. I noticed in your review you recommend shooting RAW, which I do, but when I shoot my Fuji X camera or Sony RX100M2 I’ll only keep the RAW if the JPEG didn’t come out the way I’d hoped.
Today I shot pictures of my kids playing outside and noticed in all the JPEGs my kids all had blue lips? I was again using AWB, which is flawless on my Fuji, and somewhat problematic on the RX100, but seems completely unreliable on the LX100. Any suggestions?
I had a similar problem shooting indoor photos under tungsten or mixed fluorescent lighting. People’s noses and cheeks had an alcoholic red glow, where the skin was not pasty white, and even male lips were bright magenta.
After lengthy research, I discovered that Panasonic regards the visible spectrum as extending from 380nm to 780nm. The MFT sensor used in the LX100 and all G series cameras has extended red sensitivity and no IR filter. Like Leica M8 owners, one must use a UV/IR filter (available from B+W in 43mm) to get normal skin tones.
Or one can use the LX100 or a Lumix G camera to replace the expensive Nikon D810A to record hydrogen-alpha emissions at 696nm. With deep red filter (B+W 091) and the camera set to monochrome, one can also get white leaves in the high infrared. Enjoy!
Mike, can you post some pics using that filter?
Soft corners, evf like a dim small tunnel, ISO 1600 at best indoors, fuzzy pictures. Didn’t like it, returned it. Give me a gm1 or gm5 with a 20mm 1.7 prime that is sharp as nails
Hi Jordan, just a question. I am now using the 2nd. battery because I thought the 1st. one was defect. But this one I must charge every week even if I haven’t made any pictures. What is your average time (number of pictures) with 1 charge? I enjoy the lx100 since November but the charging is very unpleasant.
Similar to your experience with the Metz 50 AF-1, I noticed the camera doesn’t work well with my smaller Metz 24 AF-1. It looks like it uses the flash at full power at all times.
Try the Metz- 26AF-1 Digital. It has a version for the LX100.
When I updated the firmware for my Metz 50 AF-1 to the latest one on the Metz site, the flashed worked fine. The only problem is that the new update program doesn’t work with the new firmware and had to use an older program from a couple of years ago.
It’s actually a cool and helpful piece of information. I’m happy that you
just shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us informed like this.
Thank you for sharing.